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Finding Good Storm Coverage for your Business

1/17/2020 (Permalink)

lightning and a street sign SERVPRO of Lake Charles is here to help your business during a storm or flood event.

If your commercial property in Lake Charles, LA., is frequently beset by storms, your property insurance coverage is probably not sufficient to pay the costs of the flood restoration services you will likely need at some point. You need storm insurance. Even with the extra coverage, however, it is important to make sure that you pay close attention to the exclusions listed in your policies. Only by filling in all the gaps that other policies leave do you get the best coverage possible.

Are you sufficiently covered by insurance?



Flood Damage

Most floods caused by natural disaster or other extreme circumstances aren't covered by general commercial property policies. You will need flood insurance to protect yourself from having to pay out-of-pocket expenses like the following:

• Water mitigation services
• Restoration costs
• Building inspection fees

After you pay your deductible, your storm insurance is likely to cover the bulk of your recovery expenses. Having a policy in place before storm season arrives is essential.

Hail Damage

If your storm coverage focuses on flooding, it may include exclusions for other damage that your building could sustain during a storm. Hail damage often accompanies violent thunderstorms, but some insurance policies don't cover the damage that a hail storm can cause. In this instance, you will need additional coverage to fill in the gap left by the exclusion.

Lightning Damage

When lightning strikes your building, it can cause quite a few problems. Other than raising the risk of fire, it may also short out your electrical system, leaving you without power regardless of how reliable your backup generator may be. If other systems, such as your building's plumbing or HVAC system, relies on the power, then you can see how expensive a lightning strike could become. Many policies exclude lightning damage for this reason. Your insurance company may offer rider policies to compensate, however.

When you are shopping for the best commercial insurance package, don't forget comprehensive storm insurance. One storm can cause extensive damage. It can give you peace of mind to know that you are protected.

Steps Toward Fire Damage Recovery In Your Southwest Louisiana Home

12/30/2019 (Permalink)

Steps Toward Fire Damage Recovery For Lake Charles Residents

Waking up to the sound of your fire alarm, then having to quickly evacuate the property while calling the fire department is every homeowner's worst nightmare. It is after the fire has been contained that anxieties over your possessions, valuable documents, and financial costs arise. There are measures you can do to make the process of getting your home back to its preloss condition runs smoothly after the initial shock.

The first thing is to contact a restoration service to carry out repairs on the fire damage in your Lake Charles home. SERVPRO operates an emergency line day and night for homeowners in need of assistance and reassurance. You might want to contact your insurance company to get a better picture of the task at hand as well as any utilities or lending companies. Fire situations are recognized as a debilitating situation, and many companies can put in place holds on bills or payments in exceptional circumstances, while you prioritize the restoration of your home.

A fire marshall can inspect the property after the fire and clear you for entry. Now's a good time to gather any necessary documents:

    •        Passport
    •        Driver's License
    •        Certificates
    •        Social Security
    •        Financial Documents
    •        Tax Records
    •        School Records
    •        Vehicle Registration

Some or all of these documents may show signs of damage from soots or smokes as well as water damage from firefighting procedure. Do not discard documents. SERVPRO operates specialized document recovery that can mitigate losses through a vacuum or freeze-drying procedure for waterlogged documents. Although we cannot reverse existing damages, there is a strong chance we can restore documents to a usable condition using these special procedures.

While you wait for a SERVPRO fire and smoke damage restoration technician (FRST) you can begin mitigating losses by covering floors and furnishings with sheets or tarpaulin which can prevent falling soots from causing further harm. Open the windows to allow air circulation throughout the property, which aids drying and replaces polluted air with cleaner outdoor air. For now, it is essential to leave walls, ceilings, appliances, and electrics until a qualified technician arrives.

SERVPRO trains technicians to the highest standards. On arrival, they can direct the restoration effort, as well as conducting crucial tests on materials, soot deposits, and smoke residues. These tests keep procedures efficient and ensure soots are not spread around, causing further issues to unaffected areas. Where necessary, our team can bring in odor control technicians to restore your indoor air quality.

We have extensive experience in handling fire restorations from start to finish. Using a combination of testing, cleaning, deodorizing, and drying, we can help you to get your property back to its preloss condition. Contact SERVPRO of Lake Charles at (337) 478-1133.

For more about Lake Charles click here.

Flood Damage In Lake Charles

12/16/2019 (Permalink)

phone and clock graphic Contamination can pose a serious health risk, contact SERVPRO of Lake Charles at (337) 478-1133 for emergency assistance.

Emergency services, like our rapid response units, cover properties that without immediate attention, are at risk of permanent harm. Common scenarios that are covered by our emergency services include the flooding of your home, which might be the result of internal or external issues. Road overflow from heavy rainfall could result in significant quantities of contaminated water entering the ground levels of your property. We offer experienced technicians, on-call, to assist you and your property in an emergency.

Our call-lines are operated round the clock to assist you with flood damage in Lake Charles. Since contaminated materials are involved, our technicians may require you to evacuate affected areas of the home, or even the whole property itself, while work is carried out. SERVPRO technicians are trained to spot the presence of contaminants in water and may need to cordon off certain zones as well as designate clean rooms on-site for decontamination.

Containment of the emergency is essential to avoiding cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is hard to stop and can be spread on clothing, footwear, or through airborne particles. SERVPRO deploy plastic barriers to cordon off the affected area and can apply negative air pressure when necessary. After establishing a quarantine zone, entering the affected area can only be permitted wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE.) This is to ensure that potentially harmful pathogens do not come into contact with you or the restorer.

In a blackwater situation, there are significantly more items that need disposal than in a clean water emergency. Pathogens can remain harmful and odorous even in microscopic quantities. Porous structural materials like insulation, sheetrock, or some woods must be removed for demolition from at least 2 inches above the standing water level. These items must be sealed into disposal bags and be dealt with in line with state and federal guidelines. Once the area is thoroughly disinfected, the disposed of materials can be replaced.

Contamination can pose a serious health risk, contact SERVPRO of Lake Charles at (337) 478-1133 for emergency assistance.

Water Damage Types and Classes

12/12/2019 (Permalink)

person in rubber boots Water damage has several classes.

In the spirit of educating the south western Louisiana communities, SERVPRO of Lake Charles wants to make sure that you know what class of water you may encounter. 

The Classes of Water Damage Losses are determined by the rate of evaporation based on the type of materials affected by water damage to your property. Determining the Class of Water is an important first step and will determine the amount and type of equipment utilized to restore your business. Here are four IICRC water damage classifications:

Class 1 - Slow Evaporation Rate 
Water losses that affect only part of a room or area, or losses with lower permeance/porosity materials (e.g., plywood, particle board, structural wood, vinyl composition tile or VCT, concrete). Little or no wet carpet or cushion is present. Minimum moisture is absorbed by materials, releasing moisture slowly.

Class 2 - Fast Evaporation Rate 
Water losses that affect an entire room or carpet and cushion. Water has wicked up walls 12" - 24". There is moisture remaining in structural materials (e.g., plywood, particle board, structural wood, concrete).

Class 3 - Fastest Evaporation Rate
Water may have come from overhead. Ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet, cushion and sub-floor in the entire area are saturated.

Class 4 - Specialty Drying Situations
These consist of wet materials with very low permeance/porosity (hardwood, plaster, brick, concrete, stone, and crawlspace). Typically, there are deep pockets of saturation, which requires very low specific humidity.

Holiday Fire Preparedness Tips

11/15/2019 (Permalink)

stove fire Fire damage occurs most often during the winter months.

SERVPRO of Lake Charles is here to educate the Lake Charles community of proper ways to protect your home or business against fire damage.

  • Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
  • Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.
  • Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.
  • Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
  • Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for more information on how to keep your home fire safe during the holidays.

5 Winter Safety Measures to Prevent Your Commercial Property from Freezing Pipes

11/14/2019 (Permalink)

frozen pipe image Water damage from frozen pipes can cause a major problem for your business.

SERVPRO of Lake Charles understands the importance of winterizing your business. The following steps are critical in avoiding water damage this winter.

1. Insulate all water pipes that run along the exterior of the building or those that are located in unheated interior spaces.
2. Inspect water pipes on a regular basis – look for any signs of small leaks or fatigue that could cause them to fail in a big way when the temperatures drop significantly.
3. Run water at a slow drip to relieve the pressure that can burst a pipe if you think it’s about to freeze.
4. Check all shutoff valves and levers to make sure they are in excellent working order.
5. Keep utilities on in vacant units. The cost of maintaining utilities in that unit will offset the cost of loss that could result from the lack of heat or water movement.

While these 5 winter safety measures can help avoiding a catastrophic pipe burst, the best thing you can do to minimize water damage is simply be prepared for the worst. What to do once you notice the frozen pipes? First, turn off the main water supply. If this is not possible, contact a plumber and explain that it is an emergency.

Same goes for water seeping from the ceiling and/or walls. Your emergency/safety measures should include the following: Shut down the power supply at the meter box and call an electrician immediately. Make every effort to protect documents, electronics and computers. Open doors and windows in the water damaged area to allow for drying and contact an emergency clean up service immediately. The sooner you have a professional disaster clean up team on site, the quicker and less expensive the cost to repair and prevent hazardous mold growth.

Facts About Winter Storms

11/6/2019 (Permalink)

Van covered in ice Water damage and fire damage from winter storms can cause major issues to your home or business.

Winter storms can be a disaster for your home or business. To help avoid water damage or fire damage SERVPRO of Lake Charles is here to educate the community of best practices.

A major winter storm can be lethal. Preparing for cold weather conditions and responding to them effectively can reduce the dangers caused by winter storms.

BEFORE

Be familiar with winter storm warning messages.
(See Winter Storm Watches and Warnings.)

Service snow removal equipment and have rock salt on hand to melt ice on walkways and kitty litter to generate temporary traction.

Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off.

Winterize your home.
  • Insulate walls and attic
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows 
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
Have safe emergency heating equipment available.
  • Fireplace with ample supply of wood 
  • Small, well-vented, wood, coal, or camp stove with fuel
  • Portable space heaters or kerosene heaters (See Kerosene Heaters.)
Install and check smoke detectors.

Contact your Parish Emergency Management Office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on winter storms.

Keep pipes from freezing.
  • Wrap pipes in insulation or layers of old newspapers
  • Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture
  • Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing
  • Know how to shut off water valves.
Have disaster supplies on hand, in case the power goes out.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries 
  • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries. 
  • First aid kit 
  • One-week supply of food (include items that do not require refrigeration or cooking in case the power is shut off) 
  • Nonelectric can opener
  • One-week supply of essential prescription medications
  • Extra blankets and sleeping bags 
  • Fire extinguisher (A-B-C type) 
Develop an emergency communication plan.
In case family members are separated from one another during a winter storm (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.

Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.

Make sure that all family members know how to respond after a severe winter storm.
Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, or fire department, and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.

Kerosene Heaters:
Check with your local fire department on the legality of using kerosene heaters in your community. Use only the correct fuel for your unit and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Refuel outdoors only, and only when cool. Keep your kerosene heater at least 3 feet away from furniture and other flammable objects.

Tips to help prevent pipes from freezing

11/5/2019 (Permalink)

frozen pipe rupture Water damage can ruin you home or business this holiday season. Be proactive and learn the facts.

If you have suffered a water loss from a busted pipe then you know how difficult it can be. SERVPRO of Lake Charles is here to help prevent this type of water damage.

The three central causes of frozen pipes are quick drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats set too low. You can prepare your home during the warmer months.

  • Insulate pipes in your home's crawl spaces and attic, even if you live in a climate where freezing is uncommon. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. Remember, the more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.
  • Heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and only for the use intended (exterior or interior). Closely follow all manufacturers' installation and operation instructions.
  • Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
  • Before winter hits, disconnect garden hoses and, if possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.
  • A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
  • Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you're asleep, but further drops in the temperature - more common overnight - could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

Thanksgiving fire safety tips

11/4/2019 (Permalink)

fire safety image Fire damage can ruin your holiday cheer.

SERVPRO of Lake Charles wants you to a safe holiday experience.

Top 10 safety tips
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey, and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay three feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Thanksgiving fire facts
  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving.
  • In 2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires.
  • Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
  • Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.  

ERP: Emergency Ready Plan

10/22/2019 (Permalink)

Emergency ready plan graphic Whether you experience water damage, fire damage or mold damage an Emergency Ready plan can get you back to work quickly.

If you own a commercial property then you should be aware that having a good plan in place when a disaster strikes is crucial to getting up and running as soon as possible. SERVPRO of Lake Charles offers a free service called and Emergency Ready Plan (ERP). 

An ERP can provide important information pertaining to the systems that are necessary to run a business. This means knowing where your water shut off valves are or where your gas shut off valves are. Who to call if you experience water damage or fire damage. If your server room gets affected by a sudden and catastrophic loss who the IT company is that can respond quickly is valuable. 

Click here to learn more about our free assessment.